Letter carriers rally for bill to deter assaults, robberies, mail theft – but can you stop postal criminals via legislation

WBAL: 5/1/24 – Postal carriers rally for bill to deter assaults, robberies, mail theft.

Postal carriers say it’s time for Americans to deliver for them.

At a rally Tuesday in Baltimore, carriers said assaults and robberies are occurring on their routes, and they have had enough.

According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, 23 robberies and assaults have happened in the Baltimore area since 2022. Officials said it’s a nationwide issue, and they’re counting on a bill in Congress to punish attackers and deter future crime.

“The letter carriers are literally having guns put up to their faces and demanding the postal items,” union representative Antoine Vaughn said.

They’re placing their hopes in H.R. 7629, the Protect Our Letter Carriers Act of 2024. Read more

PEN: Read our original coverage regarding this Act below. Robbing and assaulting letter carriers has spread like wildfire over the past few years. It is our opinion that you will not be able to legislate criminals into obeying the law or respecting letter carrier or USPS. We believe that increasing the sentencing for each of these crimes will be the only way to get this under control. Judges handing out slaps on the wrist (probation, community service, suspended sentence) will not get the job done and will not send a message of seriousness to these criminals. Also, we believe USPS has only about 600 Postal Police Officers across the nation. These PPO’s are assigned to larger populated cities – what about the smaller cities/areas? Yes, increasing the number of officers would help but it would not be reasonable to expect USPS to increase the number of these officers in a manner that would provide protection to all USPS locations, cities, or areas.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Landsman Introduce Bipartisan Protect our Letter Carriers Act

WASHINGTON, DC – 3/13/24 – Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) and Greg Landsman (OH-1) introduced today the bipartisan Protect our Letter Carriers Act (H.R. 7629).

This bipartisan legislation addresses the rise of violent crime committed against letter carriers as they carry out their duties. It will protect our letter carriers and strengthen public safety.

In building on the important work of supporting postal police officers and legislative efforts to get our postal police back in their communities, this legislation will play a meaningful role in hardening targets like mailboxes and electronic arrow keys.

Since 2020, there have been more than 2,000 attempted or actual robberies and assaults against postal workers nationwide.

The bill would:

  • Address the outdated collection boxes and arrow keys, which letter carriers are often targeted for in robberies.
  • Ensure that the Department of Justice appropriately prosecutes crimes committed against letter carriers through designating an assistant in every U.S. Attorney’s office to coordinate and supervise the investigation and prosecution of alleged offenses committed against postal workers.
  • Amend sentencing guidelines so that any assault or robbery committed against a letter carrier has a more severe sentence recommendation.

“The rise in robberies and violent assaults being committed against letter carriers in recent years is deeply concerning and Congress must act to ensure their safety,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to be leading this bipartisan effort which provides necessary resources to protect our dedicated postal workers while making sure we are punishing criminals to the fullest extent of the law. The men and women of the postal service are often the backbone of a community, and they work hard around the clock, rain or shine, to deliver essential goods, and I will always have their back.”

“Our letter carriers are such a big part of our lives, and we have to keep them safe. This bipartisan effort will do just that,” said Congressman Landsman.

“NALC appreciates Rep. Fitzpatrick and Rep. Landsman’s leadership in introducing the Protect Our Letter Carriers Act. Every employee has the right to be safe and protected on the job. Our hope is that this legislation will deter these violent crimes and keep letter carriers safe on the job,” said NALC President Brian Renfroe. “I urge the House to pass this bill that would protect the nation’s letter carriers who dutifully deliver medications, checks, ballots, packages, and other essential mail that all Americans depend on.”

“On behalf of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), I would like to thank Congressman Fitzpatrick and Congressman Landsman for introducing the Protect Our Letter Carriers Act,” said NRLCA President Don Matson. “Letter carriers have increasingly become the target of criminals looking to gain access to the nation’s mail.  These criminals are putting the health and safety of our dedicated rural carriers in harm’s way.  The NRLCA is proud to endorse this bipartisan legislation that seeks to modernize the outdated arrow key with a new electronic version, as well as review the sentencing guidelines of crimes against postal employees, and appoint an assistant U.S attorney with the responsibility of prosecuting crimes against postal employees.  Immediate action is required now to stop this threat to our nation’s letter carriers.  A threat to one letter carrier is a threat to all letter carriers.”

Read the bill here.

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